Disney World Tips for First Timers

Disney World can be a magical vacation, but it can also be a bit overwhelming if you’re a first timer. Although there are plenty of Disney World tips to be found on the Internet, it doesn’t hurt to read a little more. Our family had annual passes for a few years when the kids were young. Since we lived in Florida, it was easy for us to take weekend trips. I have a lot of knowledge about Disney World and I’m hoping to share it with those who are traveling there with their families. There are many Disney World Tips for first timers all over the Internet, so here is a basic list of ten Disney tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Disney World.

My Top 10 Disney World Tips

1. Stay on Property

By staying at one of the Disney World properties, you receive many benefits. One of the main benefits of staying at a WDW hotel is that you can get Extra Magic Hours. This means that you can get into certain parks one hour before other people or one hour later. There is a schedule that lets you know which park has the early or late Magic Hour. Your hotel will have that information. Take advantage of this great opportunity by going to the park with the Early Magic Hour, so that you can ride more with less wait.

Although some people will tell you if you plan on doing Disney on a budget, then stay at an off-site hotel. I would argue against this point. Besides the extra magic hour, you will be closer to your desired park, you have free transportation available, free parking, Disney theming, and you don’t have to walk around with the items you buy from a Disney store (they will deliver it for free to your hotel room).

You can even get a little creative and rent DVC points. This allows you to stay at deluxe hotels for less! Check out why booking a DVC rental is a worthwhile option. Now, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, then check out my detailed review on Disney Value Resorts. If you are willing to spend a little more on your hotel budget, then the Disney Moderate Resorts could be for you.

2. Arrive to the Park Early

This is Disney World for first timers 101 – meaning it is vital that you arrive at the park early! Whichever park you decide to visit, make sure your group arrives 15-20 minutes before it opens. That means scheduling breakfast and transportation times ahead of schedule to ensure you make it to the park before the 9 AM rope drop. Once you arrive, head straight to one of the popular rides so that you will get it out of the way with minimal wait time.

3. Schedule Your Disney Fast pass

Once you buy your tickets to the parks and book your hotel room, you have done the two most important steps. The next one is to schedule your Disney Fast Pass. Disney gives you three of these to use at any park to help you wait less on some popular attractions. Download the Disney Fastpass App called My Disney Experience and click on schedule Fastpass. You can schedule your Disney Fast Pass up to 60 days in advance if you are staying at a WDW hotel. To read some general tips on how to maximize your time at the parks, read Disney Fastpass Secrets. For more specific parks, click on the following:

Disney Hollywood Studios Fastpass Strategy

Best Epcot Fastpass Strategy

Best Magic Kingdom Fastpass Strategy

Best Animal Kingdom Fastpass Strategy

Check Out: 40 Magical Photos from Walt Disney World

4. Bring Water and Snacks

This is a key way to do Disney on a budget. Disney allows you to bring in food to the parks (except for giant coolers). I highly advise that you bring hydroflask water bottles and refill them around the park to save money. You could also bring a small backpack cooler with water bottles and some snacks, as they can get pricey. For some great ideas on other things to bring on your Disney trip, check out my Disney packing list.

5. Eat Meals Early or Late

This is one of the Disney World Tips I share that most people have a hard time with. Try to eat your lunch and dinner a little earlier or later than the usual times to avoid massive crowds. By eating lunch before noon or dinner before 6, you will save a great deal of time.

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Check Out: Disneyland Resort California Tips for Everyone to Enjoy

6. Make Dinner Reservations

You can schedule dinner reservations on the My Disney Experience App. As soon as you have your hotel, tickets, and Fastpass scheduled, you can check dining menus and make a reservation at many hotel and park restaurants. They do require a credit card to book, but will not charge you unless you are a no show. If you do not see the reservation time you’d like, try checking back later as people often cancel and your time slot “magically” opens up. 6.

7. Don’t Ignore Your Feet

One of the best Disney tips I can share is to WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! Chances are you will be walking a lot when you are at the parks, so be sure to add the right sneakers to your Disney World packing list.

8. Schedule a Rest Day

One of the major Disney World tips is to try and schedule a day off within your It is nice to be able to schedule a rest day from the parks. Relax at your hotel, take the bus to another hotel, go to Disney Springs, play mini-golf, or swim in the pool. Here are some ideas on WAYS TO SPEND YOUR DISNEY WORLD REST DAYS.

Check out: Why Does a Disney Cruise Cost So Much?

9. Use WDW Transportation

This is one Disney tip that is very useful. Disney buses are fantastic. Use them because they are free! There are bus stops at each hotel and at each park. Disney also offers the Minnie Van service which is basically an Uber to the parks (for a fee). Uber does provide transportation as well. If you are not staying on a Disney property, you will have to pay to park.

Orlando Hotel Deals & Discounts

10. Go to Disney Springs

Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, is a fantastic destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Here you can find the world’s biggest Disney store, play with Legos, drink and shop at Coca-Cola, watch a movie, listen to live bands, take a boat ride, and so much more. Our family always makes it a point to stop here one of the days we are on vacation. Check out my complete guide to Disney Springs for kids.

Check Out Fun Things to do Nearby

Orlando is one of the best cities to visit while on a road trip in Florida, but there are other things to do besides Disney World. Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure are both fantastic parks, and it is very likely your older kids will love them.

20 Best Things to do on Orlando’s International Drive

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Looking for help in planning and booking your Disney trip?

As a certified Disney travel agent, I can help you navigate the planning of your trip. I can book resort stays, dining, Fastpass attractions, and help you decide on your itinerary. I can also look for discounts and help you book your Disney Cruise with onboard credit.

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3 thoughts on “Disney World Tips for First Timers”

  1. I have a feeling you’ve done this a time or two? Haha! All great points. The ease of staying on property is vacation changing. Park the car and let Disney do the rest. Sometimes I will drive to the parks, but I love me a bus ride back to the hotel after a twelve hour day of hoofing it.

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